B-Complex

Check Thyroid Health with the Basal Thermometer Test

By Ben Fuchs | PharmacistBen

One of the easiest and most effective ways to check for thyroid health is the ‘Basal Thermometer Test’ developed by Dr. Broda Barnes, one of the first physicians to recognize the importance of thyroid health when it comes to overall wellness. He wrote the classic book on hypothyroidism called “Hypothyroidism, The Unsuspected Illness” in the 1970’s, and he was of the opinion that numerous health issues including heart disease, cancer, depression, arthritis, diabetes, frequent colds or infections, tonsillitis, ear infections, PMS and other female health issues as well as skin disorders, were all caused by a poorly functioning thyroid. Barnes thought that hypothyroidism affected more than 40% of the American population, which was much higher than most doctors at the time. However, perspectives are changing as hypothyroidism is becoming more and more recognized as a health problem.

Thyroid Health

By Almonroth (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0]

The test, which is sometimes called the ‘Barnes Basal Thermometer Test’ is done by placing a thermometer in the armpit for 10 minutes, first thing in the morning. This is important. If you move around and start your day before testing, your results won’t be accurate, so you want to do the test as soon as you wake up, while you’re still in bed. Because temperature for women is a bit lower on the first day of menstruation, Barnes advised women on their periods to avoid testing themselves until their second or third day.

Personally, I would suggest women wait until they’re done with their periods entirely just to be sure. You want to test your armpit temperature for three consecutive days and then determine the average. According to Barnes, if you’re below normal body temperature, which is 97.8 degrees, this can be indicative of hypothyroidism, especially if you have other symptoms. On the other hand, a reading over 97.8 degrees, according to Barnes, could indicate hyperthyroidism, again, especially if there are other symptoms present.

If it turns out you’re suffering from hypothyroidism, and nearly 10 percent of Americans are, it’s unlikely that using iodine supplements will make much of a difference. I’m not saying that iodine is not an important mineral; iodine is important, particularly for glandular health and for the production of thyroid hormone. If you are blatantly deficient, you may notice some benefits, but most hypothyroid patients are not suffering from a lack of iodine. The same goes for thyroid hormone drugs (levothyroxine), which may or may not provide the hypothyroid body with a little hormone activity, but will not do anything to correct the condition.

Hypothyroidism is typically the result of digestive health issues, blood sugar problems and chronic stress (adrenal) gland activity. That means the best strategy for dealing with hypothyroidism is the same strategy used when dealing with any other health challenge:

#1 Work on digestive health (using digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar with meals, eating fermented foods, using probiotics and eliminating problem foods).

#2 Stabilize blood sugar by eating less starchy and processed carbs (like cereal, as well as sweets and desserts), using supplements like selenium, sulfur, chromium, vanadium and the B-vitamins (among many others) and enjoying fiber-rich veggies with all meals.

#3 Focus on adrenal health with relaxation strategies and deep breathing, reduce sugar intake, and use nutritional supplementation including zinc, Vitamin C, the B-complex and magnesium. Progesterone cream may help, likewise pregnenolone and DHEA.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Osteoporosis, Blood Sugar and Insulin

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Osteoporosis is a textbook example of degenerative disease and affects nearly one out of 8 people in this country, mostly women. Degenerative disease is the leading cause of illness in this country, and a condition that affects nearly 70 percent of Americans. While awareness of the condition has increased dramatically over the last few years, which has seemed to lower the incidence of this potentially life threatening disease, it continues to escalate steadily in this country, and around the world.

Osteoporosis

By James Heilman, MD, via Wikimedia Commons

These days, even the most nutritionally obtuse person can tell you that taking calcium supplements can help strengthen the bone. More sophisticated aware nutrition minded folks may tell you about Magnesium and Vitamin D, and a so-called expert may even mention the importance of Vitamin K, zinc, and protein.
However, one of most significant keys to dealing with osteoporosis involves blood sugar and insulin, and hardly anyone ever addresses the importance of these two key health markers. Yet, in an article published in Annals of Endocrinology from December 2012, researchers bluntly remarked that “Diabetic osteoporosis (OP) is increasingly recognized as a significant co-morbidity of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2-DM)” , and further stated ”…elderly patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus are prone to develop OP. The insufficiency of insulin, the decreased insulin sensitivity….is important causes for OP in the patients with type 2 diabetes.”

Dysglycemia (a fancy way of saying messed up blood sugar) is tragic, and pervasive biochemical pathology with involvement in almost all degenerative disease. But, because blood sugar and insulin can be manipulated and controlled by our food choices, for better or worse, this is actually good news. In other words, if we change the way we eat we can change our blood sugar too!

And, as far as osteoporosis goes, it means one of the most important things you can do to keep bones from dissolving (which is essentially what osteoporosis is) is to stop eating the pasta! And the grains, and bread, and the cereal, and the fruit juice, and all the other blood sugar busting foods that form such a significant part of the Standard American Diet. And It wouldn’t hurt to throw in sugar metabolizing nutrients either. Alpha lipoic acid 200mg-400mg is a great blood sugar stabilizing supplement. Magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin A can help too. And then there are the B-Vitamins, best added to water and sipped on throughout the day.

Of course there’s more to building bone than just controlling sugar. Even if you just want to prevent osteoporosis, in addition to calcium, there’s lots of great under-appreciated and underutilized nutritional supplements that will help build and strengthen bone. Check out my favorites below. While by no means complete, it represents a great place to start if you’re looking to start an anti-osteoporosis nutritional program.

1. Protein – especially whey and egg. Bone soup is a good way to get bone building protein too.
2. Magnesium – the glycinate form is great. Use 1200mg a day.
3. Vitamin D3 – cod liver oil and adequate sun exposure (maybe 10-15 minutes a day 3 or 4 days a week) are the best ways to get this important nutrient.
4. Vitamin K2 – 5,000mcg daily. It’s a calcium magnet that helps harden bones.
5. Chromium Picolinate – helps stabilize blood sugar – 200mcg after meals.
6. B-Complex – use a powder form (Sanitas B-complex Power Blend or Youngevity’s Beyond Tangy Tangerine are both good sources) and add to water and sip all day.
7. Essential Fatty Acids – Udo’s Blend or Youngevity’s ultimate EFA caps are both good sources.
8. Vitamin C – Bones are 30% collagen, and you can’t make collagen without Vitamin C.-Take 5,000 to 10,000 mg a day.
9. Silica – Abkit Liquid Silica Gel is a good source, take maybe 1-2 tablespoons a day.
10. Hyaluronic acid capsules – 100 to 200mg a day. Your nails and hair will benefit too!
11. MSM (Sulfur) – 1000 mg a day. Extra benefit: it’s great for liver detox.
12. Vitamin A – Take 20,000 i.u daily. I call it Vitamin Anabolic. Important for building bone tissue and protein utilization. Take it with fatty foods or meals.
13. Zinc Picolinate 50mg a day – works synergistically with Vitamin A. It’s the anabolic mineral.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

“Obesity Gene” a Ploy of Big Pharma

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Some time ago, scientists from King’s College in London proudly proclaimed success at finding an obesity-causing gene. It’s linked to diabetes and functions as a “master switch” in controlling other genes that are involved in obesity and obesity related disease. While some may feel like congratulations are in order, others, including myself, are taking the approach that the obesity epidemic that is currently raging across the planet (100 million obese or overweight in America and 500 million worldwide) would be more appropriately treated as a biochemical breakdown due to poor lifestyle choices than as a genetic malady.

Obesity GeneIt can be instructive to recall that research requires funding and drug companies are always on the lookout for data that can support and lead to profitable pharmaceutical treatments. Scientific manipulation of DNA can provide a cornucopia of potential drug treatments and pharmaceutical companies love research that studies the genetic links to disease. Even in today’s unfavorable economic climate, there are lots of dollars available to researchers who are willing to participate in the genetics-causes-disease hypothesis.

Clearly, weight and obesity issues are significant health problems. However, while obesity-related diseases account for nearly 10% of medical spending in the United States, what are needed are not more pharmaceutical remedies. For most people, weight loss can be easily and simply accomplished through effective nutritional strategies.

The most important of these involves taking advantage of the glycemic index (GI), which measures how much carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI value cause a surge of the hormone insulin and this is one of the most significant causes of weight gain issues. The so-called fat-insulin axis has been regarded as a key component of the body’s obesity-inducing mechanism for over a decade. In fact, it is now recognized that fat tissue actually secretes hormones that have an impact sugar metabolism.

Nutritional supplements that improve blood sugar control can and should also be included in a nutritional weight loss-based program. Chromium and vanadium are two such mineral supplements.

Chromium is a component of the glucose tolerance factor, which is a dietary agent that is involved in sugar control. Taking 200 mcg with every meal is probably a good idea.

VanadiumVanadium is an insulin-supporting mineral. Some research suggests it may even act to replace insulin in some cells. There is a a lot of research currently being conducted on vanadium’s use as a blood sugar control agent. I’d suggest at least 200-400 mcg a day.

The B-complex of vitamins, especially thiamin and niacin, play an important role in sugar metabolism. You can take as much of these as you want and err on the side of extra. The B’s are non-toxic and because of their important role in helping the body process all food material including sugars, you want to take these around mealtime.

Magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body, helps improve blood sugar control. Take at least 1000 mg a day. The mineral zinc is involved in several hundred chemical reactions in the body. Some of these involve sugar control and 50 mg a day is a standard daily dose.

The genetic connection to disease is a red herring that serves to distract us from the real issues confronting us in the fattening of America (the title of an interesting book by health economist Eric Finkelstein). As always, good nutritional behaviors should be the first place we look to improve our health.

The obesity crisis we’re confronting can be corrected without genetics, medicine or academic posturing. It’s simply a question of the lifestyle choices we make. The correct application of dietary and nutritional strategies are a healthy, non-medical route to blood sugar control, and weight loss that can play an important non-pharmaceutical role in alleviating the obesity epidemic.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Ten Ways to Lower Blood Pressure without Medication

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Top Ten non-medical Tools to lower to lower blood pressure quickly:
#1 Reduce intake of foods that raise blood sugar and insulin. Potatoes, flour, cereal, pastries desserts are probably best avoided. Fruit juices and fruits aren’t so great either.

#2 Use insulin supporting nutritional supplements. The B-Complex is important and B3, Niacin is especially so. Consider taking several B-100 capsules daily; using the Beyond Tangy Tangerine and taking 100-20mg of TIMED RELEASE Niacin daily.

#3 Vitamin C not only has blood pressure lowering properties, but it plays a key role in strengthening blood vessels. Take 1000 to 5000 mg daily powdered in water; best to sip slowly

#4 Magnesium has multiple benefits for the cardiovascular system, not to mention the liver lungs brain and adrenal glands. Use 1000-2000 mg of Magnesium glycinate daily. All green leafy vegetables have magnesium

#5 Speaking of green leafys, make sure you’re eating lots of veggies. Veggie juices can be helpful too. Use a vitamix type blender so you don’t lose the fiber. Vegetables contain electrolytes that play a key role in keeping the blood pressure healthy. Think 1 pound of vegetables for every 50 pounds of body weight

#7 Coenzyme Q-10 is one of the most important of all cardiovascular supplements. I would be doing 100-200mg of the oil soluble capsules. They’re a bit pricey but well worth it. It’s great for the heart and liver and if you’re on a statin drug you’re ability take your own CoQ10 will be compromised. CoQ10 levels drop with age, so everyone should be supplementing as they get older.

#8 Lay out in the sun, (but don’t even come close to burning). Vitamin D can have a significant effect on lowering blood pressure.

#9 Omega-3s can be helpful and both fish oil and seed oils have their benefits. Both can thin the blood which will reduce pressure and help maintain fluidity. And lignins from flax have blood pressure lowering properties while Vitamin D from fish oil can support anti hypertension.

#10 And don’t forget to breathe. Slow deep breathing can have a rapid affect on lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure is a manifestation of the body’s generic response to stress. It indicates activation of the sympathetic (stress) nervous system. Deep breathing is the fastest way to attenuate to attenuate this sympathetic (stress) response. That means in addition to lowering blood pressure it support blood pressure health indirectly via other mechanisms. It can relieve anxiety and psychological stress. It can help you fall asleep too. And if you have issues with constipation it’s a great way to relax your bowels. All of these benefits can provide anti-hypertensive benefits. Make sure you’re breathing SLOWLY and DEEPLY into the lower part of your belly. If you can do three or 4 breaths a minute, 7 second inhale 7 second exhale or 10 second inhale and 10 second exhale.

Ten Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

Hypertension is a chronic elevation of blood pressure that affects at least 80 million Americans and increases their risk for strokes, aneurysms (burst blood vessels), and heart attacks. And that’s not all. Every single one of the 100 trillion cells in the human body is intimately dependent of the movement of blood through circulatory vessels. That means increases in blood pressure can have deleterious effects on the health of the brain, the kidney, the liver and the lungs among other organs and systems. . According to Dr. Sherry Rogers, writing in the book The Blood Pressure Hoax, 53 percent of deaths can be attributed at least in part to hypertension and high blood pressure triples the chances of an early demise.

Normal blood pressure which can be defined as the pressure or tension exerted on arterial walls as the blood circulates through the vessels is measures in a binary reading where the first number (the systolic measurement) indicates the arterial wall pressure as the heart is pumping and the second number refers to the pressure on the artery wall as the heart is relaxed (the diastolic measurement). Blood pressure readings are considered to be one of the most vital indicators of health and visit to a medical professional that will not include one. The standard unit of measurement is done millimeters of mercury and the desired range for normal adult is around 90-119 mm Hg (systolic) over 60-79 (diastole).

If you go to a physician and he determines that you have an elevated blood pressure, chances are pretty good you’re going to end up on medication and that is not a good thing. Blood pressure medicines do not address the causes of high blood pressure and come with potential for serious side effects. In fact anti-hypertensive, while among the most prescribed of all classes of medications is also among the most toxic. Even the most benign of blood pressure lowering medications, the diuretics (e.g. Hydrochlorothiazide or HCTZ), can increase risk for electrolyte loss, elevations in blood cholesterol and fats and heart arrhythmia, which are all interesting and ironic risks for a drug that’s supposed to protect the cardiovascular system. The more powerful of the anti hypertensives, the so called calcium channel blockers and beta blockers are even worse. Lethargy, digestive health issues, hypoglycemia and sexual problems are all common side affects as well arrhythmia, slow heart beat. Heart failure is not an unheard adverse reaction for these supposedly heart cardiac benefiting medicines. And, some raise the risk of cancer. In 2010, researchers form Case University Western Reserve university announced a …”modest but significant increase” in the risk of new cancer occurrences in patients taking so- called ACE inhibitor drugs, among the most popular of all anti hypertensive’s.

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to recognize that drugs are not your best treatment option. In fact given the many healthful alternatives drugs shouldn’t be a Treatment option at all. As we’ve said drugs do not address the cause of the hype4rtension. And they do not come without health or dollar cost. If you have been diagnoses as hypertensive, your best is to start to employ some nutritional, dietary and even lifestyle changes immediately.

 

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio like this:

Systolic Diastolic Blood Pressure ExampleRead as “117 over 76 millimeters of mercury”   SystolicThe top number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts).
DiastolicThe bottom number, which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).

What is the AHA recommendation for healthy blood pressure?

This chart reflects blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association.

Blood Pressure
Category
Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
  Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normal less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120139 or 8089
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140159 or 9099
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher or 100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180 or Higher than 110
Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Your Heart

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

The human heart beats over 100,000 times a day, 40 million times a year 3.5 billion times in a typical  lifetime, pumping blood over 60,000 miles of circulatory highway.  It generates an electrical field 50 times stronger than the brain, that can be measured several feet outside the body.  It’s got brain cells in it, it produces hormones and most of us never even give this incredible biological system a thought.  That is, unless it gets sick.  And, unfortunately, the odds of that happening are higher than you may think.  Heart disease, is now the leading cause of death in America and as of 2006,  81 million people had some form of it, whether it be hypertension, angina, stroke, MI or heart failure.  That’s almost one out of 4 Americans.  Over 1/3 of deaths are caused by heart disease, so clearly this is something we want to be looking at.  The good news is overall mortality has been declining as we begin to understand the impact of our lifestyle choices on our circulatory systems and our heart.  Heart and its Blood VesselsThe good news is that as our understandings around improve, so can our overall mortality.  In a study of almost 43,000 men that was published in the journal “Circulation” it was found that men who adopted all of the low-risk behaviors were 87 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease during the study period compared to men who adopted none of the behaviors.  Furthermore researchers estimated that 62 percent of all “coronary events” that occurred during the study period may have been prevented if all members of the study population adopted the lifestyle factors.  Now folks we don’t need research and we don’t need studies to prove to us that the health of the heart as with the health of the body can be enhanced by lifestyle choices.  That means exercise, watching what we eat,  no smoking,  relaxation and of course nutritional supplementation.  With an emphasis on nutritional supplementation!  Indeed, there’s no organ system in the body that has evidenced the powers of nutritional supplementation more than the cardiovascular system.  You want some tips for your ticker?  OK well, here ya’ go!  There’s probably no more important group of nutrients for your heart than the B-complex.  Now probably most of you have heard about the B-complex, but here’s a couple of things you probably didn’t know.  You never want to take individual B vitamins without taking the group.  The B-complex is, as the name implies a complex.  They work together.  While sometimes it’s instructive to talk about each of the B-vitamins and their roles individually, it important to never lose track of the fact that they appear in nature together, and they work together.  They each support each other. So if , for example you want to work with blood fats, triglycerides and cholesterol and your taking Vitamin B3, niacin which has been shown to have some dramatic effects on lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need Vitamins B1 Thiamine, Folic acid and Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B5 among others of the  of the B complex.  They all work together as a team.  Same idea if you’re taking Vitamin B12 for energy or as anti depressant or Vitamin B5 for treating acne.  Each component of the complex acts to support each of the other components.  And here’ another point to keep in mind.  When your body attempts to excrete a particular B-vitamin it tends to do it in a complex.  So if, for example, you’re taking Vitamin B3 for your triglycerides, when your body excretes the B#, it will do it with any B1, B2, B5, B12 etc that’s in the system.  If you’re not taking additional amounts of these vitamins, you can actually cause deficiencies.  So make sure you’re taking the entire B-complex. And taking it in generous amounts.  It’s water soluble so you’re gonna be urinating out what’s not used right away, so you’re levels may not be where you need them to be if you’re only taking a B-vitamin pill once or twice a day.  That’s why I like my patients to be using B-complex powders and liquids that can be sipped on throughout the day.  We want to be careful about using nutrients like we use pharmaceuticals.  Oh you have arthritis, take niacin.  Menstrual cramps take B6, you’re depressed take B12.  That’s called allopathic nutrition and it’s just another way we try to monetize good nutrition.  Sure Thiamin, Vitamin B1 helps with insulin and blood sugar.  Riboflavin, Vitamin B2 deficiency is associated with migraine headaches.  B6, pantothenic acid is great for stabilizing excess skin oils, B6 is well known for helping woman who are experiencing female problems, be they estrogenic cancers, premenstrual breakout or morning sickness.  And of course the well documented link between mood and energy levels and Vitamin B12.  But remember friends, they’re all working together as a complex and they are excreted together as a complex.   And they are found in nature as a complex.  So, you want to make sure, even if you’re taking high doses of one B-vitamin for a specific reason, that you’re taking generous amount of the entire complex.

Then there’s that good old standby Vitamin C.  Vitamin C is like that spouse or relationship that you have that you just don’t appreciate, cause it’s there very day.   You see most of us get enough Vitamin C to prevent full blown deficiency disease.  This makes us take our relationship to Vitamin C for granted.  What I mean to say is that while we may have an OK relationship with Vitamin C, a relationship that keeps us out of dramatic trouble, hardly anyone gets the amount of Vitamin C that’s required for optimal functioning of multiple systems in the body.  Vitamin C is so critical for the functioning of a cell, that it actually has a doorway on the membrane of a cell so that it can access the inside of cells.  That is an amazing fact that underscores the vital nature of this powerful nutrient that most of us don’t appreciate or get nearly enough of.  Dr. Mathias Rath has written extensively about this in several books including one with the very catchy title: “Why Animals Don’t Get Heart Attacks, But People Do”.  Dr. Rath, who is a highly renowned physician and a colleague of the famous Vitamin C pioneer Dr. Linus Pauling says that animals don’t get heart attacks because they produce large amounts of Vitamin C.  That’s right, for some unknown reason only humans, gorillas and certain types of guinea pigs don’t make Vitamin C.  All the other creatures in the animal kingdom make large amounts of this vital nutrient.  Under normal circumstances the daily amount produced by animals , adjusted for comparison to a 150lb human, is somewhere between 3,000 mg and 15,000 mg, with an average of 5,400 mg.  And yet the RDA for adults in this country is 60mg.  Are you kidding me??!!  60mg??!!  A mouse produces the adjusted equivalent of 2300mg a day and when it’s under stress it produces the equivalent of 20,000 grams a day!!!  So now, let me ask you something do you think it’s possible that maybe the typical American who’s not supplementing and getting his Vitamin C from arrange juice (a glass of orange juice, by the way, has around 80 or 90 mg of Vitamin C) may be deficient.  And given all the roles Vitamin C plays in the body, especially in cardiovascular health, you can begin to C why we may have a hidden nutritional deficiency going on here.  And by way, so much for getting all your nutrients from food!  Vitamin C is absolutely critical for the production of collagen.  Without it you simply can’t make collagen.  And without enough you simply can’t make enough collagen.  Collagen is required for vascular health, because blood vessels maintain their strength and elasticity largely on the strength of this vital protein.  In fact, when collagen in arteries and veins becomes old or weakened that’s when we’re at highest risk of stroke aneurysms and other cardiovascular issues.  Oh, by the way, on of the bodies mechanisms for patching up weak vessels is to use cholesterol as a glue.  That’s why elevated cholesterol levels sometimes, not always, but sometimes precede heart attacks.  And please pay no attention to the silliness around cholesterol lowering drugs and reduction of heart disease.  The facts according to the Framingham study, which is a 50 year study that’s produced over 1000 scientific papers are: now listen up here: for each “1% mg/dL drop in cholesterol there was an 11% increase in coronary and total mortality”. So, don’t be talking to me about lowering cholesterol to protect the heart.  I’ve said it many times on this program: to poison the body to stop it from producing chemistry is just plain BAD MEDICINE and BAD SCIENCE!!  If you cholesterol levels are high there are simple and natural ways to lowering them that do not involve drugs.  Permit me to repeat:  You don’t need cholesterol lowering drugs!  We’ll address that whole can of worms in a posting to come…

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health